September 17, 2021 09:54

Fugitive wanted for 1968 firebombing homicide captured after being on the run for nearly 50 years

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. — The long arm of the law caught up to a fugitive who was behind bars on a murder conviction when he escaped nearly 50 years ago.

The Pittsburgh FBI captured Leonard Moses, now 68. He had been convicted of participating in the firebombing of a dwelling during riots in Pittsburgh in 1968 that broke out after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. As a result of the Molotov cocktail thrown at the home, a woman burned and died, WJRT-TV reported.

After escaping and eluding authorities in 1971, Moses was found last month living under the name Paul Dickson in Grand Blanc, Mich. He was working as a traveling pharmacist at least since 1999, FBI agent Michael Christman said Friday. He was arrested Thursday at his home.

“I hope this arrest brings some closure to the family members of Mary Amplo, who was killed back in 1968,” said Christman, who runs the bureau’s Pittsburgh office. “Mr. Moses will now have to face justice for her murder.”

The FBI tried to drum up interest in the case in 2016, interviewing family members and associates and chasing 2,000 leads, but was unable to learn his whereabouts, Fox News reported.

At the time of his escape Moses had already begun serving a life sentence for the woman’s murder. He was on a furlough to attend his grandmother’s funeral when he disappeared.

His freedom began to unravel during a June arrest in St. Clair Shores, Mich., for stealing 80 hydrocodone pills five months earlier from a CVS where he was working, WJRT-TV reported.

He allegedly admitted to stealing the pills and claimed he threw them out of his car while driving home that night, the station reported.

Dickson was arraigned in June on charges of embezzlement and unlawfully dispensing prescription medication. He was released from custody after arraignment on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond, but never booked into the Macomb County Jail.

On Oct. 28 Dickson went to the St. Clair Shores Police Department to have his fingerprints and booking photo taken. Police ran the fingerprints though a national database per standard protocol, which authorities say began to reveal the truth about Dickson’s life.

The fingerprints matched those taken from Moses when he was arrested in 1968, authorities said.

After determining Dickson’s true identity as Moses, the FBI Detroit Fugitive Task Force arrested him without incident at his home in the 8300 block of Embury Road in Grand Blanc Township on Thursday. He remained in the Genesee County Jail on Friday while awaiting extradition back to Pennsylvania.

The arrest went down without incident, Christman said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune.

“I know the officers yelled the name Moses and they got a response,” Christman said.


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